Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Shows That Actually Live Up to the “Must See TV” Moniker

By: Aleks Chan

As someone who reviews TV, I find myself talking more about what’s wrong with shows as opposed to what’s great about them. Lest anyone think I hate all TV, allow me to share my current race-home-to-watch shows. 

So Brooklyn it doesn’t know what to do with itself. Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman)prances around the hippest borough in sport coats as an author-cum-unlicensed private detective, specializing in cases of zany, often including the shaggy charm of his cartoonist buddy Ray (Zach Galifianakis). But it’s his sweet, father-son relationship with magazine honcho George (Ted Danson) that lifts this from twee to treat: Last week’s scene with Jonathan seeing George off to surgery was hilarious, cathartic, and touching. (Airs Sundays at 10PM EST on HBO)

I know: that title. The sad truth is, it’s doubtful this kooky but warm sitcom would exist without it: You try selling a show about a group of fortysomethings hanging out and drinking wine together. If you stuck with the show past its Courtney Cox is a Cougar days, you’ve probably fallen in love, as I have, with this family of misbehaved adults, who each have a unique (and uniquely funny) relationship with each other, a rare sitcom feature not to be missed. (Airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM EST on ABC, CityTV in Canada)

Challenging, but endlessly rewarding. This therapy drama, now in its third season, has a bit of a learning curve (watch one week’s worth of sessions and you’re hooked), but once you’re in, you’ll revel in this master class in acting. Each episode is a different session with one of Paul Weston’s (Gabriel Byrne, as commanding as ever) patients, whose stories are rich, heady character examinations. It may just be actors sitting around talking, but it’s a mental workout. (Airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO)

If you’re weary of committing to another serial drama, then this dark and twisty cop drama starring Idris Elba (Stringer Bell!) as John Luther, a morally compromised London detective who returns to the force after being suspended, is the perfect choice: a BBC production, the first season is only six episodes long. Like a classic noir film, it’s moody and the crimes are grizzly and it has the season’s creepiest villain in murderess Alice (the perfectly devilish Ruth Wilson), who slowly starts worming her way into Luther’s life. (Airs Sundays at 10PM EST on BBC America)

This second adaptation of the Ron Howard film of the same name got off to a rocky start when it debuted earlier this year, but it’s slowly grown into an excellent ensemble drama with individual story lines that hold up on their own: Adam’s (Peter Krause, awesome) nearly tearful coming to terms to his son’s autism had me beaming. And sorry Alexis Bledel, but Mae Whitman may have surpassed your mother-daughter relationship with Lauren Graham, they’re so good together. (Airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC, CityTV in Canada)

Aleks Chan is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. He has seen every episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER four times, has once referred to his DVR as his “best friend,” and has only seen the pilot episode of THE SOPRANOS — and has no intention to apologize for it. He lives in Austin, Texas. His name is pronounced like Alex. Email him at, follow him on Twitter (@alekstvaddict), or his own blog, Screen Reader.

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  • Clara

    I TOTALLY agree with regard to Parenthood and Cougar Town. I adore both those shows so I’ll definitely be giving the other ones here a chance!

    I don’t understand why nobody is watching Parenthood – it’s incredible.

  • Bimbi

    I´ll love your forever for having Parenthood on this list. I love it and I wish more people would watch.

  • Nick

    I doubt many viewers share your Top 5, Aleks. The only show I “race” home for is The Vampire Diaries (coincidentally, the only show I’ve caught this season online if I miss an ep).

    But 90210, Smallville and Supernatural are pretty must-see, as well. Can’t think of one single other show on any network that I don’t mind missing. And that’s sad. I sure miss LOST.

  • Sourabh Shetty

    While I watch a lot of shows, there are only a few race-home-to-watch fall shows. Mine are: Fringe, The NBC Comedy Block, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Dexter, Family Guy, Supernatural.

  • Ace

    My must see shows are (as in watch live or shortly after, not whenever I get around to it on DVR) Cougar Town, Modern Family, Community, Chuck, Vampire Diaries and Fringe.